Summer Game Fest ads keep the show running, Keighley says

Some criticize Summer Game Fest for running advertisements, but creator Geoff Keighley says ads open a chance to create a unique experience for everyone

Summer Game Fest is not a Nintendo Direct, and Geoff Keighley doesn’t have Jim Ryan’s funding. These statements may seem obvious, but The Game Awards creator says it’s important people remember the limitations he faces when putting together showcases such as the Summer Game Fest, which rely almost exclusively on advertisement revenue to keep going – for now. Keighley made the comment in a new interview with PCGN’s sister site The Loadout, where he opened up about how mixing advertisements with announcements ultimately make the experience better for everyone.

“We have to figure out a way to subsidise the shows and pay for them, and that’s through advertising,” Keighley says. “I get the conversation and I see it all. I’m fully aware of it. But that’s just sort of the model that we have and that tends to work pretty well for most people.”

Beyond helping fund Summer Game Fest and The Game Awards each year, Keighley says ad revenue lets him turn the shows into something more than just another flashy event. E3 and similar events cater to the press and select attendees who can attend the actual showcase, leaving most people, especially international fans, out of the loop. Keighley wants the opposite for Summer Game Fest.

“I think one of the things that I really found with The Game Awards was how global our show was, and the fact that people in China and India and other countries really wanted to watch the show and be a part of it,” he says. “I always try to think of the kid in Stockholm or in the outskirts of Germany, who’s probably never going to get to go to an E3, but wants to feel a part of something. To democratise that experience is really important.”

That mindset also led to the creation of initiatives such as Future Class, designed to promote inclusivity in the industry, and the robust slate of demos that usually accompanies SGF and The Game Awards, so anyone can play the games showcased during the event without having to travel or receive an invitation.

Keighley hopes the level of accessibility continues to grow in the coming years, enhanced by the kind of metaverse experience already showing up in the likes of Fortnite.

“I see a world in five years where you’re gonna watch one of my shows – maybe from within a metaverse game – and then all of a sudden you’ll walk through a portal to play that demo,” Keighley says. ” everyone can have access to it.”

Keighley also says he’s considering other fundraising avenues either alongside advertisements or perhaps in place of them. Crowdfunding is one possibility, but in keeping with the spirit of letting everyone take part, Keighley says he would want to involve fans beyond just taking their money.

“Maybe one year at Game Awards we’ll have a slot where fans can buy it and do whatever they want with it.”

Meanwhile, Summer Game Fest 2022 begins June 9 with an extended look at already announced games and new reveals, with the full SGF schedule including showcases from Xbox and Bethesda, among others, over the course of the following week.

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